Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Home sales continue to rise
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - by Jeff Clabaugh Washington, D.C., Business Journal
One measure of home sales rose for the eighth consecutive month in September, the longest streak since 2001.
"National Association of Realtors' index of pending sales of existing homes rose 6.1 percent in September. Pending sales are up 21.2 percent from a year ago, the largest annual increase on record, the NAR says.
"What we are witnessing is a rush of first-time buyers trying to beat the expiration of the tax credit at the end of this month," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Home values will stabilize sooner rather than over-correcting."
Existing home sales, which make up the vast majority of home sales, are leading the recovery. Reports last week said sales of new homes fell 3.6 percent in September, while sales of existing homes jumped 9.4 percent. Existing home sales were at a two-year high in September. New home sales are down nearly 8 percent from a year ago.
The NAR predicts new home sales will continue to lag as home builders hold back production to drive down inventory. New home construction also continues to be hampered by an ongoing credit crunch for construction loans.